Expulsion of John Marino - reasons and impact?

Dewayne Geraghty dewaynegeraghty at gmail.com
Tue Feb 21 06:46:08 UTC 2017

Some people collect brown pebbles, you know, those little maintainership
pebbles where people generously volunteer to keep ports up-to-date and
remain functioning on the various platforms.  Collecting these and
demonstrating an ongoing professional and technically competent
contribution, sometimes leads to the much coveted white pebbles, the ones
that denote recognition of technical abilities and ultimate providers of
source to the FreeBSD consumers – the larger family. They, the trusted
elite with their commit-bit.

Sometimes a commit bit is relinguished due to exhaustion or simply lack of
time for volunteer activities. But even these are held onto until the owner
feels like its time to hand-it-back. Rarely, very rarely is a commit bit
withdrawn and in such a public way as


Bryan quite rightly advised that negative discussion of an individual
shouldn’t be public.  Perhaps strange that it was the FreeBSD portmgr that
alluded to unacceptable and intractable behaviour which resulted in the
removal of the commit bit.  It’s appreciated that the maintainership of the
60+ ports, some quite complex (gcc6-aux and other compilers),


that John maintained was reinstated.  Mistakes happen but it is a concern
that the impression of automatic removal of maintainership rights had taken
hold - and without any discussion with the maintainer.

Unfortunately when you’ve held the white stone, once taken, diminishes the
motivation to retain the brown ones.


So perhaps these ports, now semi-abandoned – difficult to acquire, easily
removed; are now likely to follow the familiar path of dormant PR’s and
eventually made available for others to adopt. An unintended consequence...

So that we can better understand the person, this is an interview with John
(jump to 21 minutes):


Clearly a person proud of the recognition afforded by having a commit-bit
and as demonstrated by his ports contribution, deservedly so.

Sadly the lack of involvement by the Foundation is somewhat surprising,
even for a group that advocates a hands off approach; and for the FreeBSD
base, its probably warranted.  Unfortunate for that paradigm to apply in
the ports arena, a shame really.

Not retaining people of John Marino’s calibre is a loss, to push him out of
the Project is a travesty.  Such a strong word, but appropriate when the
REASON for his departure has not been revealed - to John!  Discussions that
affect someone’s professional reputation are held, decisions made and
without recourse, review or an opportunity for defence.  The victim remains
uninformed as to the cause.

I thank those of you that have mailed me privately.  We can only hope that
those that have the authority to look at the impact and the consequences of
this decision, properly review the efficacy of such, the consequences and
take the right action.  Which for those not privy to the impugned
horrendous and ongoing misconduct, are better served by having John inside
the FreeBSD family foistering the relationship between Dragonfly and
FreeBSD and others; continuing to provide packaging choice, a voice (one of
the few) that challenges the status quo; but mostly for his passion in
contributing to the project as a top contributor for 3 years!

To be clear, the only person that is ENTITLED to know the reason is John
Marino; it is then up to him to assess and whether it should be made
public.  That is the very least that should happen.

Regards, Dewayne

More information about the freebsd-ports mailing list